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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

News Release - Detox Facility Can Be Good Alternative to ER

Certain very inebriated patients may be safely transported by emergency medical service (EMS) ambulance crews to a detoxification center rather than the ER, with minimal adverse events. A study of a protocol for pre-hospital evaluation and disposition of uncomplicated inebriates was published online Wednesday in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“EMS Triage and Transport of Intoxicated Individuals to a Detoxification Facility Instead of an Emergency Department”).

“Widespread use of this type of protocol has the potential to provide significant financial savings for the U.S. health care system,” said lead study author David Ross, DO FACEP, an emergency physician with Penrose-St.Francis Health Services and medical director of American Medical Response in Colorado Springs, Colo. “This population is very frequently transported to the ER by EMS or police, consuming a disproportionate share of resources and contributing to ER overcrowding. A detoxification center is a good alternative to the ER for certain intoxicated patients who just need an appropriately staffed facility to ‘dry out.’ Our research suggests that EMS personnel can identify patients who are safe for this alternative destination.”

Between 2003 and 2005, EMS providers in Colorado evaluated inebriated patients using a 29-item checklist to determine whether patients could safely be transported to a detoxification center instead of the emergency department by paramedics. The checklist was developed by EMS officials, emergency physicians, emergency nurses and detoxification center personnel. The criteria that most commonly excluded patients from being taken to the detoxification center were inability to walk and unwillingness to cooperate with a physical exam.   > > > >  Read More